Then came Tuesday September 11th and the PLASA Show faded into the background. Word from New York spread quickly around the hall. The atmosphere was surreal because the events that those who had received phone calls from the States were describing, couldn’t possibly have taken place, even in the wildest imaginations of those who work in this crazy business of ours that specializes in dreaming up the impossible then making it happen.
But as those who gathered in the Platinum Club lounge to watch the news live quickly found - all this, and more, was true. We watched the second World Trade Centre Tower crumble live in front of our eyes. We watched our American colleagues dial and re-dial on their cellphones, desperately trying to reach families and colleagues back home. We wondered about the people we knew in New York - what a small world it is now, how crazy that in such a small world such madness can still take place.
There has been time since that day to face up to the implications for our own industry. The knock-on effects are hard to pin down, but they are already showing themselves, and in his column this month, Tony Gottelier reflects on what the wider implications might be.
It’s difficult to switch from the events of the September 11th to the events of the Show itself, but that’s what we need to do, because the industry needs to move forward. As we point out in our introduction to the Show Review, which begins on page 79, the Show was on course for a record-breaking year. The exhibitor profile was strong, the mood on the floor was positive, and visitor figures were up on the previous year, with yet another strong showing from overseas, which this year accounted for 25% of the total.
There were some truly unique developments on the show floor that have the potential to change the way we do things in the future. You can read about them in our show report, which begins on page 79. Also accompanying this issue is a PLASA Award Winners Supplement which offers a profile of all the award-winning products at the Show. If that doesn’t satisfy your appetite for information, longer versions of all these reports can be found on the PLASA Show website at www.plasa.org/show.
It only remains for us to convey our sympathy and support for those affected by the events of September 11th.